Living Music Institute Hosts Leading Opera Soprano

Inaugural opera aria workshop brings renowned soprano Kallen Esperian back to UM

Kallen Esperian

OXFORD, Miss. – The Living Music Resource at the University of Mississippi is holding its inaugural Living Music Institute this weekend. This intensive opera aria workshop includes a residency by world-renowned soprano and recording artist Kallen Esperian.

A member of the Metropolitan Opera and La Scala Opera, Esperian has performed in leading roles at major opera houses around the globe.

This is not Esperian’s first time at Ole Miss. In 2011, she led master classes and special topic courses, taught private voice classes and worked alongside the Ole Miss Opera Theatre ensemble as a one-year artist-in-residence.

“I had the immense privilege of working with Kallen when she came to Ole Miss and experienced her greatness firsthand,” said Nancy Balach, co-director of Living Music Resource in the Department of Music. “She left an invaluable mark at Ole Miss and helped us keep our pulse on the professional world of music.”

Esperian will appear at two of the three public events this weekend.

The activities open at 7 p.m. Friday (Jan. 19) with a documentary showing, mini-concert and Q&A session in Nutt Auditorium. Accompanying Esperian are filmmaker Steven John Ross and pianist Gary Beard.

The documentary “Vissi D’Arte” explores challenges Esperian has faced throughout her career. Tickets are $5 each, available at the Ole Miss Box Office or at the door.

At 1 p.m. Saturday (Jan. 20), a performance of “Aria Matinée” in Nutt Auditorium will feature emerging artists from nine states who are participating in the workshop. This event is free.

Later that evening, Living Music Resource will host its signature live show, “LMR Live,” hosted by Balach. This production’s guests will focus on Esperian, and she will be accompanied on stage by Beard. This 7:30 p.m. show is free to the public.

“At Saturday’s ‘LMR Live,’ we will dig even deeper into how one finds balance in life, professional and personal,” Balach said.

Balach also said she expects this to be a unique showing of “LMR Live,” since participants of this weekend’s Living Music Institute will be in the audience. She anticipates an engaging show with much more interaction than usual.

“I am thrilled to have Kallen back in Oxford as the featured guest artist for the inaugural Living Music Institute,” Balach said. “Her journey is relatable to anyone who has faced adversity. She is inspirational and to experience Kallen’s artistry is an absolute gift.”

Balach described Esperian as “inspirational” and “one of the leadings sopranos of our time.” It is significant to have an artist of Esperian’s caliber to share knowledge and experiences with the Living Music Institute participants and with Ole Miss students and faculty, she said.